No Answers for Back Pain

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No Answers for Back Pain

This is a discussion on No Answers for Back Pain within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Last June Delilah had surgery for her luxating patellas. She was great for about 2-3 months and then she started hopping/limping on her hind legs ...

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Old 04-26-2018, 11:53 AM
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No Answers for Back Pain

Last June Delilah had surgery for her luxating patellas. She was great for about 2-3 months and then she started hopping/limping on her hind legs again. I was worried it was her knees again but the surgeon checked her over and found her knees were great and the limping was caused by back pain.

Since then she's had a few flare ups. The first one was the worst- my boyfriend had come home from work and she tried to greet him but would just start screaming whenever she tried to jump on him. Same thing happened when I came home a few hours later. She would wake up in the middle of the night and start crying. The next morning I brought her to the vet. Still back pain. We were given some meds and told to rest her for 2 weeks.

She still kept limping and had a couple more flare ups but they weren't as bad and by then we had medication we were given for her flare ups.

She saw a third vet- her main vet about the problem and he referred me to an expensive specialist who might be able to diagnose what was causing the pain.


Well today I spent $200 to be told the SAME EXACT THING the other three vets had told me. This is our FOURTH opinion and he couldn't tell me what was causing the pain. He said she didn't appear in enough pain to recommend a CT scan but if it gets worse to bring her back and we would discuss that. I got sent home with more pain meds and told to keep her quiet (no running, jumping, playing for my very high energy terrier) for another two weeks. The CT scan would be $1500 anyways. I need to finish paying off care credit for her knee surgery before we can do that.

I'm so disappointed. Like by now I've accepted that I'll never ever be able to do agility with this dog but I was hoping we could figure out what was going on with her back now that it's getting warm out and we could do some hiking this summer. Looks like I'm not even going to be able to walk or hike with her without hurting her.

I have no idea what to do next.
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Old 04-26-2018, 03:49 PM
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Unfortunately back pain is often debilitation for both we humans, and our canine buddies. I wish there was a magic answer for you, but I don't believe there is. As difficult as it is, about all you can do is follow your Vets advice at this point. The best possible outcome would be for it to heal on its own, or at least get the pain down to a manageable level. I agree with what is apparently your Vets philosophy that conservative approaches are best, any intervention should be reserved as a 'last resort'.
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Old 04-26-2018, 03:54 PM
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She's only three, it's not like she's an old dog that's going to die soon anyways and I can just manage the pain for the last few years. She has her whole life ahead of her and I just want her to be healthy and pain free. I've put so much money into trying to fix her but it's just one thing after another with her.

Maybe I should look into holistic medicine. Maybe something like acupuncture is the answer.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:03 PM
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Samantha had a back injury before she was two years old. With our Vets conservative treatment, she recovered, though Xrays still show some calcification and has functioned well since. She is now nine years. There is hope.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:29 PM
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Is there anyway, anyway at all, that her harness could be pressing into her spine?

Zody went through something remarkably similar to what Delilah is going through, and he was around her age at the time too. What I discovered was every time he pulled on his harness the edge of the girth strap pressed into his spine. Imagine running around and periodically a hard piece of cloth pushes into your spine, day after day, month after month, and always in the same spot. That was what was happening to him. It took strict rest, an anti inflammatory, pain medicine, and finding a different type of harness (I was using a shoulder collar) to solve the problem. Up until last week he had been doing good, but last week he decided to hit the end of his long line on a dead run and hurt his back a little, but not nearly as bad.

I'd try changing Delilah's harness and see if it helps. Look at it this way, can't hurt, might help, and a lot cheaper then a ct scan.
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Old 04-27-2018, 03:25 PM
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Sometimes injuries to the spine, back or neck area, just seem to happen. We had to be away from home for about six hours a couple of days ago. When we came home, Samantha was having trouble walking. This was late in the day, so yesterday morning, off to the Vets we went. She seemed, while waiting in the waiting room, to make a miraculous recovery, vet really found little. Late yesterday, she would not do steps, and could not pick anything up off the floor. To get one of her favorite treats, she would lay down next to it. Seemed clear her neck was hurting her. Left a message for Vet late yesterday, he called this morning, wanted her in for X-rays, as he was now suspicious of neurological involvement. He had already contacted a surgeon for today, if necessary. The X-rays showed only some calcification at C2/C3, no glaring abnormalities. Still waiting for the radiologists interpretation, but she is on prednisone for swelling. She seems to be doing a little better, now.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:46 AM
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From the history of this case, I can draw out a diagnosis that the dog is suffering from arthritis, the back pain is as a result of damage to the components forming the joint between each vertebrae, a condition known as Spinal osteoarthritis. The best solution is to obtain arthritis supplement, and modify dog food. If this is done properly, there would be improvement in the next week. Meanwhile, I would have love to prescribe some pain relief for your baby but I can't do it here, so I advice you ask your veterinarian to prescribe some pain relief such as dichlofenac K. or piroxicam for your dog. Don't just buy on the counter please to avoid drug abuse. See articles on arthritis, you can look them up if you have time on healthydogjoints .com.
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Old 04-28-2018, 09:48 PM
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This is day two of the prednisone course for Samantha, and toward the end of today, she is definitely feeling better. She is moving with far less caution, and even has run through the house several times. So great to see her feeling better.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:28 AM
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I also think it may be worth your while to check out acupuncture. I had an old coworker who's dachshund would loose feeling in her back legs but she would take the dog to the acupuncturist and the dog would come back running all over the house. It's worth a try.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:54 PM
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Keeping her quiet is impossible. I've been carrying her up and down the stairs of our apartment and she hasn't been on any walks for a week. But in the apartment she doesn't walk. She runs and jumps and prances and bounces. She jumps on and off furniture for the hell of it. I've been trying to keep her leashed or carry her around with me inside but she's still doing a lot of jumping on and off of the furniture before I can catch her or block her. This is so frustrating and futile.

Definitely going to make an appointment for acupuncture next week if this "rest and give more pain meds for two weeks" doesn't work for the third time. I feel like all of this pain management stuff is just a bandaid and not addressing the actual problem.
I'm so sad because deep down I know her back's going to get worse and worse as she gets older and she's just going to be in pain for her entire life.

@Rain, we hadn't used the harness (or gone on any walks) at all over the winter but I had remembered you mentioning that in another post so now that it's warmer out I've just been using her collar instead of a harness.

I have a feeling the cause of this is simply her structure. Her back's always been bent, it curves when it should be straight. You can see the vertebrae at the top of the curve poking out. This caused her hind legs to bow badly which is why her knee caps kept slipping out. When she had her knee surgery they tightened some ligaments in her legs and actually seemed to straighten her legs out a bit and now I'm wondering if that's what's causing her back pain now.

Or maybe she's always had back pain and the hopping on three legs that she's always done was also due to back pain before the surgery, rather than her knees, which I had assumed.
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